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So you just walked out of American Dream with a beautiful new tattoo... what happens now? While your artist took care applying the tattoo and protecting it with bandages after your appointment its up to you now to make sure the healing process goes smoothly and your tattoo looks amazing for decades to come. 

Aftercare instructions will be different depending on the bandage or wrapping your tattoo artist applied at the end of your appointment. We offer a more temporary black padded bandage that can be removed shortly after application or a clear waterproof bandage (usually Saniderm or Recovery Derm Shield) that can be left on for multiple days during the healing process. Follow the instructions and method provided below based on the type of bandage that your tattooer used. 

Black Padded Bandage

Remove the bandage after 3 hours unless your artist has told you otherwise

Wash the tattoo gently DO NOT SCRUB with antibacterial soap and warm water. Pat dry with a clean towel.

Apply a thin layer of aftercare ointment 3 to 4 times a day for the next 2 weeks and do not re-cover the tattoo. Keep moisturized with unscented lotion once the tattoo is done peeling and scab-free.


Tattoo Ointments





Hustle Butter




Ink Eez

*Unscented Only*

Lubriderm Daily





Clear Waterproof Bandage

You can leave the bandage on no more than 3 days after your tattoo. In the meantime it is ok to shower, the bandage is waterproof, but do not soak in water for an extended period of time.

When you are ready to remove the bandage it is best to do so in the shower, the adhesive is strong and the water will help with removal.

Very slowly and gently peel back the film, starting with a loose corner. Pull the film back on itself, not straight up away from the skin. Take your time with this step! 

Gently wash the tattoo with antibacterial soap and warm water. DO NOT SCRUB. Pat dry with a clean towel.

Your tattoo should be mostly healed at this point. Keep it moisturized by applying an unscented lotion or tattoo ointment 3 to 4 times a day for 2 weeks until fully healed

Tattoo Care Basics

The sun and other sources of UV light are a tattoo's worst enemy. Make sure you stay out of direct sunlight while the tattoo is healing. Avoid tanning beds or extended sun exposure even when the tattoo is completely healed and protect the healed tattoo with sunscreen or moisturizer that is SPF 30 or higher. 

While the tattoo is healing avoid excessive soaking in water. This includes lengthy showers, swimming, saunas, heavy sweating, baths, and jacuzzis.

Do not scratch, pick, or rub at the tattoo while it is healing... no matter how itchy it is! New tattoos are likely to develop small scabs and the skin will be sensitive and start to peel during the healing process. These will fall off on their own as the tattoo heals and can cause ink loss and other complications if they are removed too soon.

If the tattoo is in an area you would normally shave, do not shave the tattoo or the area around the tattoo until after it is completely healed with no scabs and no peeling skin.

Keep the tattoo protected from any dirt or debris that may irritate the skin while it is healing. If you cannot avoid exposure, try covering the tattoo with loose fitting clothing and be sure to clean the tattoo afterwards. Never touch a healing tattoo with unwashed hands! 

During the healing process, especially in the first few days your tattoo is likely to seep with natural bodily fluids, sometimes this will mix with excess ink. Don't worry about losing pigment, but we suggest sleeping on sheets and pillowcases and wearing clothes that you don't mind getting stained, just in case. During the healing process your skin is exfoliating dead skin off of the tattooed area to replace it with new, healed skin. All of those dead skin cells can get trapped in sheets and other bedding so be sure to wash and change everything once the tattoo is completely healed. 

Take good care of your body during the healing process! Your new tattoo is an open wound and your body will be working extra hard the first few weeks to heal it. Making sure you are well hydrated and are nourishing your body with essential nutrients will help the healing process go as smoothly as possible. Plus it's just good general life advice. 

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